Garnet vs Ruby (Meaning, Differences, Cost & Value)

At first glance, rubies and garnets might look quite similar. After all, they’re both beautiful red stones that make stunning pieces of jewelry.

However, there are actually some pretty big differences between these two gemstones—differences that can affect everything from the meaning behind a piece of jewelry to how much it costs. So, if you’re thinking of buying a piece of ruby or garnet jewelry, it’s important to understand the distinct differences between these two stones.

Both rubies and garnets are beautiful gemstones, but they do have some distinct differences. The main difference is their color—rubies are typically red while garnets can come in a variety of colors. Another important difference is hardness—rubies are harder than garnets. This makes them less likely to scratch or chip, but also more difficult to cut and polish.

Whether you’re looking for a piece of fine Ruby jewelry or something more affordable made with Garnet stones, understanding these key distinctions will help you choose what’s right for you.

There’s something about red gemstones that just makes people feel special. Maybe it’s the color, or maybe it’s the history and lore that surrounds them, but rubies and garnets have always been popular choices for jewelry. If you’re thinking of buying a piece of jewelry with a red gemstone, here are some things you should know.  

When it comes to gemstones, rubies and garnets are often confused for one another. And while it’s true that these two stones share some similarities, there are also some major differences between them.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at rubies and garnets so you can better understand the features that set them apart.

Origin & History 

As long as there have been people, there have been rubies and garnets. These two gemstones have captivated mankind for centuries with their beauty and mystery.

No one knows exactly where they came from, but it is believed that rubies were first mined in India over 800 years ago. These precious stones were highly prized by the Indians, who believed that they had magical powers. They would often give rubies as gifts to express their love and admiration for someone.

The popularity of rubies soon spread to other parts of the world. In Europe, people considered them to be a symbol of power and wealth. Kings and queens wore them on their crowns and rings, and sometimes even used them as currency!

What Are the Main Differences between Garnet and Ruby?


The first thing you’ll notice when comparing rubies and garnets is that they come in different colors.  

Rubies are typically a deep, rich red, while garnets can range from light pink to dark purple.  If you’re looking for a traditional “red” gemstone, then ruby is probably your best bet.  But if you’re open to other shades or red, then garnet might be a better option.

While we’re talking about color, another important difference between these two stones is that rubies tend to be more brilliant (or sparkly) than garnets.  This is because rubies have a higher refractive index (yeah, we had to toss in a little technical detail here), but it just means they reflect more light than other stones.   


Sometimes size does matter.  And one of the most obvious differences between rubies and garnets is size. Rubies tend to be much larger than garnets, with the average ruby weighing in at around three carats. 

Garnets are typically much smaller, averaging about one carat.  But it is not uncommon to find smaller rubies. So, while there are size differences between rubies and garnets, just focus on finding a stone that’s the right size for you. 


You’re probably wondering what you will need to spend for quality ruby or garnet. Well, because they tend to be larger and more popular, rubies are usually more expensive than garnets. 

However, there is a wide range in price for both stones depending on size, color, and clarity. So, don’t assume that all rubies are out of your price range; it’s possible to find reasonably priced rubies if you know where to look.

The same goes for garnets; although they’re typically less expensive than rubies, there are plenty of high-quality garnets out there if you’re willing to pay top dollar.


Ever wondered what truly makes garnets and rubies so special?  It all has to do with their rarity.  Rubies and garnets are both extremely rare gemstones. In fact, rubies are even rarer than diamonds! They’re found in only a few places around the world, and the vast majority of them are found in Myanmar (formerly Burma).

Garnets, on the other hand, are found in many different places around the world. However, most of them are small and of poor quality. The best garnets come from Russia and India. The largest garnet ever found was 36 carats.

Garnet polished crystal


For those that want to know a little more about the general makeup and composition of garnets and rubies, keep reading.   Both come from the same element: aluminum oxide. 

Rubies generally have a higher concentration of chromium, while garnets have a higher concentration of iron. These differences give rubies and garnets their distinctive colors. Rubies are red due to chromium, while garnets can be any color, although most garnets are red or reddish-brown.

The largest garnet ever found is known as Subway Garnet. It was discovered in 1885 in New York

Birthstone & Zodiac Sign

Wondering what to get that special someone born in July? Or maybe you’re looking for the perfect gift for a January birthday? 

Rubies, the birthstone of July, is associated with love, passion, and power, while garnets, the birthstone of January, are said to represent courage, strength, and determination.   

Whether you’re shopping for a July birthday or a January anniversary, rubies and garnets make excellent choices. These beautiful stones come in a wide variety of colors to suit every taste, and they’re also quite durable, making them ideal for fine jewelry. 

Birthstone & Zodiac Calender

Brilliance & Fire

Rubies and garnets are quite unique in the way they interact with light. When light hits a ruby or garnet, the stone absorbs some of the light waves while reflecting others.  

It’s this brilliance that gives rubies and garnets their deep red color. And if you look at a ruby or garnet in direct sunlight, you will see a tiny sparkle, the ‘fire’, of red light within the stone. 


If you’re in the market for a ruby or garnet, you might have heard the term “clarity” thrown around. Clarity refers to the purity of the stone—in other words, how many imperfections (or inclusions) it has. Most gemstones fall into one of three categories: flawless (no inclusions), included (some inclusions), or heavily included (lots of inclusions). 


Hard as a rock, but still beautiful. That’s what we love about rubies and garnets. These stones are perfect for rings to necklaces, and durable enough for everyday life.  Rubies rank just under a diamond as far as its hardness, and garnet is above average and a great choice for a gemstone that will stand the test of time.

Gemological Phenomenon / Effect

Okay, so this is a bit technical, but it relates back to the composition of rubies and garnets. The gemological phenomenon is when the color of the stone appears to change depending on the lighting conditions.

At times, the stones will exhibit a star-like figure when viewed under magnification. And when the stone emits a visible light when exposed to ultraviolet radiation it has a fluorescent quality . 


This is the fun part, deciding which cut ruby or garnet cut is best for you.  With a wide variety of shapes and sizes, each has its own unique set of characteristics. So, if you’re in the market for ruby or garnet jewelry, it’s important to know about the different types of cuts available.  

The round cut is by far the most popular type of cut for rubies and garnets. Its classic shape makes it versatile enough to be used in a wide range of jewelry styles.  Other popular cuts are oval, emerald, heart, pear, and trillion cuts.  No matter what your taste or style may be, there’s sure to be a ruby or garnet out there that’s perfect for you. 

Garnet Ring Examples 

Garnets are gorgeous stones that come in a variety of colors. They are also the birthstone for January, making them a perfect gift for anyone with a birthday in that month. If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out a few of our favorite garnet rings below.

How To Tell If a Garnet Is Real Or Not

With all the different types of fake garnets on the market, it’s important to know how to spot a real one. Real garnets have a deep, rich color that is almost velvety looking. If the color is more of a superficial red or has orange or brown tones, it’s likely not a real garnet.

Garnets also have a high refractive index, which means they sparkle and shine when they catch the light. So, if the gemstone in question looks dull or cloudy, it’s probably not a real garnet.

How To Tell a Ruby From A Garnet? 

One of the quickest ways to tell a ruby from a garnet is by looking at them side-by-side. Rubies tend to be darker and more translucent than garnets, which are usually lighter in color with fewer flaws. Another difference is that rubies often have what’s called “rutile silk,” which are tiny needle-like inclusions that give the stone a hazy appearance. 

Diamond ruby ​​ring
Diamond ruby ​​ring

Are garnets magnetic?

No, garnet is not magnetic. While some minerals are attracted to magnets, garnet is not one of them. This is due to the fact that garnet has a different crystal structure than minerals that are attracted to magnets. So, if you’re looking for a gemstone that won’t be pulled toward a magnet, garnet is a good choice!

Ruby Ring Examples

Rubies are a beautiful, classic gemstone. They symbolize love and passion, making them a popular choice for engagement, wedding, and cocktail rings. Take a look at a few of our favorites:

How To Tell If a Ruby is Real Or Not

Not all rubies are created equal and many on the market are fake, but there are some ways to spot the real thing.

Rubies are supposed to be red, but not all red stones are rubies. The difference is real rubies have a slightly bluish hue, while fake rubies will be more orange-red or purplish-red.  Also check the clarity.

Real rubies will have some slight imperfections, called inclusions, whereas fake rubies will be nearly flawless.  And hold the ruby up to light – real rubies will be slightly translucent, while fake ones will be opaque. Lastly, if it’s being sold for pennies, it’s likely not the real thing.

How much is a good-quality ruby worth? 

Price will depend on the size, quality, and color of the ruby. Generally speaking, a bigger ruby will be more expensive than a smaller one. Likewise, a ruby with better color and clarity will also cost more. 

How To Identify a Real Ruby? 

Inspect the color. Rubies should be a deep red, sometimes with a hint of purple. If the stone is too light or has any other colors mixed in, it’s likely not a real ruby. In addition, Rubies should be relatively clear, with just a few small inclusions. If the stone is extremely cloudy, it’s probably not a genuine ruby.

How To Take Proper Care Of Your Gemstones

It’s important to know that rubies and garnets are quite durable stones. However, they can still be susceptible to damage if they’re not cared for properly. Here are a few things to keep in mind to keep your rubies and garnets looking their best.

  • Avoid exposing your ruby or garnet jewelry to household cleaners, chemicals, or cosmetics. These can all damage the stone or tarnish the metal.
  • Take off your ruby or garnet jewelry before doing any vigorous activity. This includes cooking, cleaning, gardening, and working out.
  • Be careful when putting on lotion or sunscreen. Apply these products first, before putting on your jewelry. Otherwise, the lotion or sunscreen can build up on the stone and make it difficult to clean later
  • To clean your ruby or garnet jewelry, simply use a mild soap and water solution. Avoid using harsh chemicals or ultrasonic cleaners, as these can damage the stone. 

Is it ok for my gem to have a crack in it?

Yes, it is perfectly fine if a garnet or ruby has a crack in it! In fact, many people believe that these cracks actually add to the beauty of the stone. So don’t worry if your garnet or ruby has a few cracks – it only makes it more unique and special.

Professional Assistance 

As with any major purchase, it’s important to do your research before you buy a ruby or garnet. Read up on the different types of rubies and garnets, and familiarize yourself with cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.

After your research, it’s time to find a reputable jeweler who can help you choose the perfect ruby or garnet. Look for a jeweler who is a member of a professional organization such as the American Gem Society or Jewelers of America.

These jewelers have undergone extensive training and held to high ethical standards.  Also, ask around for recommendations from friends and family, they may have valuable insights for you to consider. 

When it comes to choosing between garnet and ruby, it really comes down to personal preference. If you’re looking for something affordable that comes in a wide variety of colors, go with garnet.

However, if you’re wanting something rarer and more valuable, opt for ruby. No matter which stone you choose, you can’t go wrong—they’re both absolutely beautiful!  We are always happy to help and to answer any questions you may have.